• Question: I never realized carpet padding was that important. What kind should I look for?
• Answer: The general rule of thumb when it comes to carpet padding is: buy the best quality you can afford. The carpet padding really is essential to a carpet’s performance. Terms to look for include the density of the padding as well as the thickness. There are a number of broad categories of carpet padding, which are then further complicated by different brands, manufacturers, thicknesses, as well as levels of quality. The general categories of carpet padding are:
1. Waffle Rubber: like the name says, it has a waffle texture, which means that the thickness of the pad will include air. While it used to break down, it’s now made much heavier. If getting waffle rubber, get the heaviest cushion and density.
2. Urethane Foam: this carpet padding is available in different densities and thicknesses; getting the right density for the carpet you’re getting is important. When you have the right density, this is a good performer.
3. Bonded Urethane: this carpet padding is also called “rebond,” and it’s the most popular type of padding today. Rebond is made from reclaimed scraps of high-density urethane foam used in making furniture and manufacturing automobiles that is then bonded together to form the cushion. A minimum density recommendation is 8 pounds per cubic foot.
4. Flat Rubber: this is the Rolls Royce of carpet padding. For the ultimate in luxury and long wear consider using 19-22 pound per cubic foot flat rubber carpet padding. It can be pricey and difficult to find, but it’s worth it, though the average consumer won’t usually go this route because of the price. Usually, when you replace your carpet you also have to replace the carpet padding. Flat rubber padding is the only kind of padding where you don’t have to do that.
5. Fiber Cushion: this is carpet padding made of scrap fibers that are considered more green or environmentally conscious. Sometimes jute, or hair mixed with jute is used, but, unfortunately, while it may be more environmentally conscious, it isn’t a great performer as a carpet pad.
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